Buying Guides

Are Professional Guitars Easier To Play? (Explained)

Are professional guitars easier to play
Written by Corey Morgan

In general, professional guitars are more difficult to play because of their complexity. Choosing a guitar as your primary instrument when you first begin your musical journey can be very exhilarating. Many instruments today require a professional level of performance in order to be considered good.

Is it worth it to invest on a professional instrument if you’re just starting out?

It’s your decision to make at the end of the day, and no one can stop you from doing so. However, if you’re just getting started with guitar, you might want to avoid buying a professional model.

Reasons for the difficulty of playing a professional guitar

As a beginner, you’re probably also working with a limited budget. Beginner guitars, both electric and acoustic, can be found for a fraction of the price of professional models. Because no one can tell if a beginner would continue with this instrument for the long term, the fundamental reason for this is Cheaper guitars are a better option because of this.

If you’re a more skilled musician, a professional guitar is the right choice for you. Other than that, it’ll be a flashy accessory to flaunt.

However, a beginner guitar player has not yet developed a liking for the features of a guitar that justify the purchase of a professional instrument. This is the result of years of practice and experimentation with a variety of guitars.

There are pros and cons to playing a professional guitar:

A guitar’s general design and build quality, as well as the use of higher-grade materials, hardware, pickups, and electronics, determine whether it is considered professional or not.

Especially when it comes to lower string action, the technology they include makes setup a bit simpler. However, if you’re just starting out, you’re unlikely to notice any of these differences.

Better setup and a lot of practice are the two things that make it easier to play your guitar.

However, it doesn’t matter if your guitar is inexpensive or expensive; as long as you know how to use it, it will serve you well.

Even guitars that cost as little as $180 to $250 can be played easily if they are set up by a skilled guitar technician. It’s not uncommon to see a professional guitar player using a low-quality instrument during live performances. Beginners don’t need an expensive guitar but rather the correct setup and a lot of practice time.

Is it easier to play a professional acoustic guitar?

However, with acoustic guitars, things are a little more complicated. While more expensive electric guitars may not be any easier to play than cheaper beginner models, you can tell a big difference between playing a professional-level acoustic guitar and a beginner model right away.

However, this does not entail that a beginner should spend more than $1,000 on an acoustic guitar. On the other hand, a $150 or less acoustic guitar may make things a lot more difficult.

Even a skilled setup and repair may not be able to save them in rare circumstances. We recommend acoustic guitars that cost at least $250 for beginners.

These aren’t too pricey, but they’ll have superior materials, construction, and overall design than the cheaper options.

Professional guitars are easy to play for beginners for a variety of reasons:

There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to the nicer things in life, such as a guitar, if you have the means. Of course, if you prefer to start with a professional guitar, you can do that.

Factors Contributing to the Ease of Playing a Guitar

  1. Low action
  2. Light strings
  3. Neck shapes
  4. Body shapes
  5. Weight

1. Low-action

The action of a guitar is the most crucial factor in how easy it is to play. If playability is essential to you, this is a crucial consideration for both acoustic and electric guitars.

So what is a guitar’s action?

When it comes to guitars, “action” is a term you may not be familiar with. And even some of the most seasoned players still don’t fully grasp the importance of it.

Simply put: It’s really easy. The distance between the tops of your frets and your strings is all that it relates to. It has a direct impact on how difficult it is to hold a note, which is vital when it comes to playing easily.

Close proximity between the strings and the frets is referred to as “low action”. There is less pressure on your fingers when holding a fret as a result.

However, if your action is high, you’ll have to push more forcefully, which might be challenging for beginners who may feel pain or discomfort. Nevertheless, if the action is too low, fret buzz is more likely to occur. And you should absolutely stay away from it.

How to Measure the Action of Your Guitar

You should first measure the action of your guitar before making any adjustments. This can be done with an action gauge or a ruler. To use the ruler, simply place it on the 12th fret. Measure the distance from the top of the fret to the bottom of the guitar string while it is still in place. All of your strings should be put through this process.

The action on the high E string of an electric guitar should be 1.5-1.7 mm, and the action on the low E string should be 2.3-2.5 mm.

The motion on an acoustic guitar should be a little more pronounced. It should be roughly 2 mm on the high E string and 2.7-2.9 mm on the low E string.

How to Adjust the Action on a Guitar

Making any alterations to your guitar is unsafe and should be avoided unless you are a well-trained and experienced guitar repair professional. Go to a guitar specialist for help when in doubt about your ability to play well.

Attempting to repair your guitar on your own without the proper training or equipment might result in irreparable damage to the instrument.

When it comes to your guitar’s action, here are several factors to consider:

An internal metal bar called a “truss rod” can be found in the neck of a guitar. The neck of your guitar can be made straighter or bent by adjusting this knob. A guitar neck with a slight bent is to be expected.

  • The height of the bridge can be decreased or raised in order to modify the action respectively.

It’s important to know your guitar’s “nut height,” or the distance between the headstock and the fretboard. Each string has a slot in the nut that may be lowered or raised to change the action.

2. Light String Gauge

The string gauge is the next factor to consider when determining how easy a guitar is to play. This simply refers to the thickness of the strings on your guitar. Heavy gauge strings are thick, while low gauge strings are thin.

The Effect of String Gauge on Playability

Because thinner strings are simpler to play with, it should come as no surprise. They’re much easier to keep in place. As a result, you won’t have to exert as much effort. This is useful if your guitar has fret buzz and needs a higher action.

What Gauge of Strings Is Best for a Guitar?

A typical gauge for electric guitar strings is 0.010, while the typical gauge for acoustic guitar strings is 0.013.   Most guitar strings come as a set, and the gauge of the set is generally referred to as the top E string gauge.

There are also drawbacks to using lighter strings

It is true that playing with lighter strings is easier, but there are several drawbacks to this method of playing.

Strings with thicker gauges give a more robust sound, which is preferred by many guitarists. Moreover, because they are louder, they will have a longer sustain than thinner strings.

Thicker strings have more energy than thinner strings. The sound of a guitar is produced by the vibrating strings, as you probably already know. You’ll receive a longer and more sustained sound with thicker strings because these vibrations take longer to dissipate.

3. Neck shape

Naturally, the ease of playing a guitar is directly related to the curvature of the neck. How difficult it is to hold a note, and how rapidly you can switch between notes and chords, will be affected by the weight of the instrument.

Several factors come into play when talking about neck shapes in general, and they include the profile, depth, and width of the neck. They all have an effect on how easy it is to play your guitar.

Neck profile

Your guitar’s neck shape has a huge impact on how easy it is to play your instrument. This is sometimes referred to as the “neck profile,” and it simply refers to the curve of a guitar’s back neck.

C, V, and U are the three most common neck shapes. There is no longer such thing as the “ideal neck shape.” It is entirely a matter of personal preference. It’s a good idea to experiment with different types of necks to see which one is the most comfortable for you. It all comes down to your hands, your playing technique, and the type of music you often perform on your instrument.

The C-shape neck is the most prevalent. In general, it’s not too deep and has an oval form that’s regarded easy to play by most guitarists.

As with the C-shape, the U-shape is a more rounded and deeper variation. Players with small hands may have difficulty with this profile, which is best suited to those with larger hands.

  • V-Shape: This is the most traditional neck shape, and it may be found on older guitars in general.
Width and depth of the neck

The neck’s width and depth are unrelated to its shape. It is possible to have a C-shaped profile that is thicker and wider than others. As a result, neck type isn’t always a clean-cut issue.

When standing up and looking down on your guitar’s neck, the depth of the neck relates to the thickness of the neck. The width relates to the length of the neck when viewed flat.

Thinner necks are usually faster, so you’ll be able to play faster riffs with ease.   To get the ideal fit for your hand and playing style, you must experiment with different widths and depths.

4. Body Shape

The shape is the next most important consideration when determining how easy it is to play a guitar. While this applies to both acoustic and electric instruments, there is a greater degree of variation with electric guitars.

The shape of an acoustic guitar does not change as much as it does with electric guitars. However, there are some shapes that are easier to play than others. While there are many various designs for electric guitars, each one has an impact on the instrument’s playability.

The cutaway configuration on most electric guitars is either single or double. In the Les Paul, for example, the uppermost frets are only accessible from the underside of the guitar due to its single cutaway design. It is possible to access the upper frets of a double cutaway guitar like the Stratocaster from either side of the neck. So if you frequently use the top frets, a double cutaway design may be more convenient.

Give many guitars a try and discover which one works best for you and your playing style. Of course, there are many additional guitar designs to choose from.

Playability is also influenced by the size of your guitar’s body. Deep acoustic guitars produce a bigger sound, but they are also more difficult to play if you aren’t familiar with them. It’s even worse while you’re standing.

5. The weight of the guitar

Finally, the guitar’s weight completes the list. Although there is little to say about this, the general rule is that lighter guitars are easier to play!

If you play your guitar standing up for a long period of time at a show, this is a problem. The pain in your shoulders can interfere with your ability to play the guitar if you are using a heavy guitar.  Even if you’re sitting down, the weight will still be on your leg, making this a problem.

There are some guitars that are lighter than others, such as the Gibson Les Paul.

If you’ve already bought your instrument, there’s not much you can do. Other than getting a good gigging guitar strap to ease the strain on your shoulders and back!